Why Do Printed Circuit Board Prices Go up in 2021?

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Fri, Apr 23, 2021

In the past several months, the whole electronics and electrical industry witnesses the printed circuit board prices climb higher and higher, and this leads to higher prices of the end-products. Why do the PCB board prices rise in 2021? In this article, we will reveal the veils behind the growth of PCB prices from two perspectives - the raw materials and the market demands.

Materials for PCB Production Rocket

In the printed circuit board supply network, there are three main chains - raw materials, copper-clad laminates, and PCB manufacturers.

The upstream chain is raw materials for PCBs, such as copper foils, prepreg (PP), glass fiber, ink, copper balls, paper, etc, and almost all of their prices go up, especially the copper foils.

The midstream chain is the copper-clad laminates (CCL). The CCLs are made of the above PCB materials, and their prices in 2021 are much higher than in 2020.

PCB copper-clab laminate prices go up

Since the costs of the raw materials and CCLs soar, the downstream PCB industry struggles.

One thing you should know is that the CCL cost takes up over 50% of the total cost of PCBs, and the copper foil cost takes up most of the CCL cost. For instance, the copper foil cost takes up 50% of thinner PCBs' CCL cost, and it takes up 30% of thicker PCBs' CCL cost.

Now you may realize the main reason for the increase in PCB prices is the higher and higher copper price.

In March of 2020, the price of copper is $4371 per ton, but in February of 2021, it is $9617 per ton. In one year, the copper price increases twice!

Another raw material for PCB production whose prices surge is epoxy resin. In October of 2020, an epoxy resin factory in Guangdong of China exploded, and in November, the world's largest epoxy resin factory in Jiangsu also exploded. In addition to the manufacturing side's accidents, the extremely cold weather in the northern hemisphere affects the production of epoxy resin. For these reasons, the prices of epoxy resin go up dramatically. For example, the price of epoxy resin jumped from CNY 28900 per ton on June 1st of 2021 to CNY 31250 per ton on March 18th of 2021.

epoxy resin prices increase sharply

Besides, the prices of another main PCB material, such as the glass fiber, also go up significantly. For example, Kingboard Holdings, one of the world's largest CCL companies, claimed another price increase of the glass fiber on November 30th,2020. This was the third time when this company adjusted the material prices to be higher in November. The below image of the CCl company's notification shows that every piece of FR4 board costs CNY 10 more, every piece of CEM-1 board CNY 5 more, every piece of VO board CNY 5 more, and every roll of PP CNY 200 more.

glass fiber prices go up

Market Demands Forces PCB Prices to Go up

Standard PCB copper foils are manufactured in smaller numbers, which makes them more expensive than in the past. This is because the profit rate of making standard PCB copper foils are much lower than making lithium copper foils used for new energy vehicles. As new energy vehicles like Tesla Model 3 are in growing demand, the copper foil manufacturers assign more production in lithium copper foils and there leave fewer production lines for the standard PCB copper foils.

copper foil interest rates

Besides, there is just a small number of CCL companies in the market, such as Rogers, Matsushita, Taconic, and Shengyi, but there are countless PCB manufacturers in the world. So the CCL companies can transfer the increased cost pressure to the PCB companies easily. Since May of 2020, the copper-clad laminate's price has been increased. Now all kinds of copper-clad laminates are 30%-100% more expensive than they were in May of 2020.

PCB manufacturers usually have one to three months' PCB materials in stock, so it is after one to three months that they have to buy more expensive CCLs and PCB materials. This is why PCB prices go up more sharply in 2021.

Now you can see the reasons why PCB manufacturers have to increase the PCB board prices:

    • 1. the PCB materials are more and more expensive.
    • 2. PCB manufacturers have to undertake almost all cost pressure of raw materials.

PCBONLINE Provides High-Quality PCBs at Fair Prices

PCBONLINE, your trusted PCB manufacturer, does its hardest to protect customers' interests. We are able to increase as small as possible By using cutting-edge technology and automation equipment, we reduce the PCB production cost and marginal cost.

Another reason that PCBONLINE can provide PCB board at fair prices is the lower average cost of PCB materials. PCBONLINE has been specialized in advanced circuit board fabrication, assembly since 1999. Over the past 22 years, we built two large PCB production bases and one PCB assembly factory. We buy large bulks of PCB materials so that our average cost on materials is slower than those middle or small PCB manufacturers. That is also why we can provide you with PCBs at fair prices.

Though almost all PCB material costs go up, we manage to make a good balance between our products’ good quality and fair prices. You can get an instant quote online and win $100 coupons for order reduction.

Working with PCBONLINE, you can enjoy:

    • Middle to high-end PCB ISO9001, IATF, REACH, UL, and RoHS certified, following IPC-A-600 standards
    • PCB assembly ISO9001, IATF, REACH, UL, and RoHS certified, following IPC-A-610 standards
    • All levels of orders, from prototypes to large-scale production, happen on the same production lines
    • One-to-one engineering and customer support, plus free design for excellence
    • Extra discounts, free PCBA samples, and functional testings for bulk orders

Below is a video that shows how we manufacture PCBs.